KZN returning to the dark old days?

2016-06-22 06:00
PHOTO: SUPPLIED Badedile Tshapa.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED Badedile Tshapa.

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IS KwaZulu-Natal heading back to the violent, dark political past of the pre-1994 elections era?

This was the question from political analysts after yet another shooting of ANC members in Pietermaritzburg.

Badedile Tshapa (56) and Phetheni Ngubane (50), members of the ANC’s Imbali branch executive committee, were shot and killed while returning from a meeting in the township recently.

University of KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu warned that if the situation is not dealt with “fast enough”, the province will find itself back in the bloody era of political violence.

“It is not like the nineties violence just mushroomed with 20 killings - it started with isolated incidents, then flared up.

“The numbers are escalating at an alarming rate. Law enforcement agencies need to act fast,” he warned.

The killing of the two follows the recent murders of two former ANC Edendale branch leaders.

Former branch chairperson Nathi Hlongwa was shot and killed outside his home after attending an ANC meeting on 1 June.

The day before, Simo Mncwabe, who had just resigned as the Mooi-Mpofana Municipality’s chief financial officer, was shot and killed while taking his children to school in Edendale.

Mngomezulu suggested that the ANC do some “soul searching”.

“They need to investigate whether this is not internal factions before even thinking about pointing fingers at opposition political parties,” he said.

The analyst said the problem started before the party’s provincial conference last year.

Robust lobbying had split the party into two camps in the run-up to the conference, where current chairperson Sihle Zikalala triumphed over former premier and ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu.

KZN violence monitor Mary de Haas said it was clear the ruling party had not dealt with that factionalism.

“There seems to be broader tensions between the two factions.”

De Haas said the removal of Mchunu as the premier would not do the new leadership of the party any good.

“You can replace the premier, but that does not mean you will win the hearts of his supporters,” she said.

Despite provincial secretary Super Zuma denying that the rise in protests in the province was directly attributable to the disaffection of communities with the party’s candidates lists, De Haas linked the protests to the “growing” unhappiness with the party’s internal processes.

“It seems a lot of it is linked to corruption in the ANC. It is an old story. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma [the African Union chairperson and member of the ANC national executive committee] initiated a commission that had found serious irregularities in some ward candidate nominations.

“It is quite shocking to learn that some of those names that were implicated are still among the nominees for the upcoming local government elections,” De Haas said.

She said the situation could get worse.

“People are angry. In the last elections people were unhappy about irregularities, but the violence never got to this level,” she said.

ANC regional secretary Mzi Zuma said the latest killings were of concern to the region.

“This region was stable - the latest developments are shocking,” he said.

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